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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hearts and Yo-Yos

While going through magazine patterns looking for the Hawai'ian applique, I realized I have quite a few heart patterns. I thought it might be nice to piece a bunch of these together to form a sampler. So they'd all fit together well, the squares (or rectangles) will have sides whose lengths are multiples of three.

One pattern had an elongated heart made from yo-yos. I made 14 1 inch yo-yos and sewed them onto a rectangle 3.5 by 6.5 (unfinished):
I love yo-yos. They are fun to make, versatile, and retro. To make a yo-yo, you could buy a two-piece plastic yo-yo maker that will tell you where to cut and where to sew, but why add more plastic to the planet? (I will confess I have the plastic doodads to make flower-shaped and heart-shaped yo-yos, because those are tricky to do freehand.)

You could break out your compass from Geometry class and draw perfect circles onto your fabric, or even make perfect templates in every size you might want, but that's a lot of perfection for yo-yo making, which is not an exact art.

You could do what people did decades ago, which was to grab cups and saucers and cans and use those as your templates.

But what if you are as lazy as I am, and don't want to go get up off the sofa? My "technique" is adapted from Alton Brown's tip for cutting a parchment paper circle to line a round cake pan. Cut a square with sides that are roughly double (a little bit more if you are hemming the yo-yo) the diameter of the yo-yo you want (no need to use a rotary cutter and ruler for this -- freehand it):
Fold the square in half, and then in half again:
Fold it along the diagonal to make a triangle:
Fold it in half again (and again if you can manage it), forming a wedge shape and keeping the center point in your fingertips:
Now with scissors trim the top of the wedge to even up the outer edges:
This will be the circumference of the circle; if the circle is small (as is mine, with a 2 inch diameter), trimming in a straight line will be good enough. For much larger yo-yos, you may want to trim the top in a gentle arc, mimicking the arc of a circle, or your final shape will be more like a hexadecagon.

Unfold, and you have a rough circle, ready to sew:
Now just sew it as you normally would to make the yo-yo. If you've never done so, it is quite easy. Fold in the edge (or don't, I often make yo-yos with raw edges) and begin a running stitch around the circumference:
Once you get back to the starting point, gently pull the thread on either end to gather the circle up:
Pull tight to close the center, and knot and trim the threads. Pull on the gathers a bit with your fingers to shape the yo-yo if necessary. You're done!

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